Sony cuts the cost of enthusiast cameras with new E-mount A series

Ever since Sony took over Konica Minolta, we’ve seen some solid work from the brand in the field of digital cameras, and while the sensors are already impressive, now its Sony’s turn to make the prices more competitive with a $499 model.

Called the A3000, this camera takes much of what Sony has learned from designing DSLR-styled bodies and blends it with the success of Sony’s Compact System Cameras, currently part of the NEX range of devices.

Technically, this is a NEX inside a bigger shell, with a 20.1 megapixel APS-C Exmor sensor supporting RAW and JPEG, Full HD video capture, ISO ranging from 100 to 16000, and 25 focus points.

While that tech is modern, the look of this camera borrows from a traditional DSLR design, with a pronounced grip and flattened pentaprism, which of course isn’t there since there is also no need for a pentaprism or mirror box, thanks to the flat sensor inside.

That pentaprism section does hold a flash, however, so at least darkened environments can be lit up, as well as an electronic viewfinder showing 100% view.

Sony’s NEX lenses are supported on this A-series camera too, which essentially means buyers will be upgrading later on to a slimmer body capable of taking Sony’s E-mount.

That said, we’re most intrigued by the price, which brings the cost of enthusiast cameras down to just $499, which will surely entice people who found the minimum $800 spend a little too hard to justify in the past.

But Sony’s budget mirror-less isn’t the only model to be announced this week, with a new NEX model capable of handling the same E-mount lenses.

New to the NEX range is this year’s NEX-5T, a thinner and lighter camera than the A3000 which boasts a new 16.1 megapixel APS-C Exmor sensor with support for ISO25600, Full HD video, and a vari-angle LCD which can flip up at 180 degrees for taking self-portraits.

Very new to the NEX range is the inclusion of Near-Field Communication, which means Android smartphones with the wireless handshake protocol can instantly connect and use the Embedded Smart Remote Control app to frame images and fire the shutter remotely, or even just link the devices up for sending images from the camera to a smartphone.

Pricing for the NEX-5T is a little more than its larger A3000 brother, with the camera hitting stores in September for $899 RRP with a single lens or $1149 in a twin-lens kit.